Those snooty Frenchmen are at it again…
Hong Kong has scored almost perfect zeros to rank all but last in a French poll which aims to determine the nicest shopping locations in the world. Of 30 locations, Hong Kong finished 29th…one spot ahead of international shopping mecca, Liberia.
To paraphrase, the poll summarises Hong Kong as a shopping location where streets are noisy, unhygienic and unpleasant and salespeople are routinely rude, unfriendly and distant. Pedestrians were considered unhelpful while the population of Hong Kong as a whole was seen to have a poor attitude.
No surprises there.
Never fear Hong Kong. While first place and top awards elude you in this particular poll, there’s still a very healthy trophy cabinet to be proud of. Let’s take a look at some of Hong Kong’s most well earned distinctions…– Winner 19 straight years in the “What’s that stench??” World Championships – 2001-2011 1st: Longest single use of a car horn – 1960-2011 1st: Most disgusting building/ series of buildings in a 1 block area – 2001-2011 1st: Most uses of the same card at an ATM in a single visit .
If you can make it past Kelly Ip’s tragically user-unfriendly tongue twisting headline, here’s an article from Hong Kong newspaper, The Standard, explaining the French poll:
Store spies trash popular HK shopping streets
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
A secret survey of 30 world-famous shopping streets puts Hong Kong in 29th place because of the unfriendly attitude of salespeople and poor hygiene.
Singapore’s Orchard Road tops the list followed by Luxembourg’s Liberty Avenue.
A French company sent shopping spies to more than 400 stores in 30 popular shopping streets and asked them to grade their experiences, including customer service and restrooms.
Orchard Road scored high marks in nearly all areas, with excellent customer service in most stores and ultra-clean streets.
The Champs Elysees in Paris ranked only 16th. Researchers reported that customer services in most stores were unsatisfactory and the salespeople did not smile enough.
The results show that while 60 percent of salespeople in the 30 shopping streets were well-mannered, about 30 percent chit-chatted with colleagues in front of customers.
More than 70 percent of all shopping streets offered cultural activities, including concerts.
Also, road construction work being carried out in a large number of shopping streets affected the overall grading to a certain extent, the report said.
The French company conducted a similar survey in 2005 but that only involved 17 shopping streets. Hong Kong was not among them, but Beijing’s Wangfujing Avenue was on the list.
In that survey, Madrid’s Calle Serrano came out top while Wangfujing was bottom.
Tourism lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said he was disappointed with the result of the latest survey, although he was not surprised. He said the most popular shopping streets in Hong Kong are Nathan Road, Queen’s Road Central and Canton Road, but none of them has a special feature to attract tourists.
“I also fear that customer service in Hong Kong is moving backward,” he said.
“This means not only that pedestrians are unhelpful, but also the overall attitude of Hong Kong people.”
Hong Kong’s service industry should concentrate on hospitality and be equally helpful to both mainland and Western customers, he added.
“We should not ask visitors to speak in our language, but we should try to speak in theirs.”
Some final comments:
‘Customer service in HK is moving backwards’
Here I was telling myself the ‘Hello welcome…Thankyou bye byeeeee’ mantra when you enter or exit a shop in Hong Kong was genuine and warm…but maybe it’s as cold and robotic as I always suspected.
‘Tourism lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said he was disappointed with the result of the latest survey, although he was not surprised.’
The only surprise is that Hong Kong managed to beat Liberia. What a coup for the city!